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Spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS) is common amongst astronauts on long duration space missions and is associated with signs consistent with elevated cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pressure. Additionally, CSF pressure has been found to be elevated in a significant proportion of astronauts in whom lumbar puncture was performed after successful mission completion. We have developed a retinal photoplethysmographic technique to measure retinal vein pulsation amplitudes. This technique has enabled the development of a non-invasive CSF pressure measurement apparatus. We tested the system on healthy volunteers in the sitting and supine posture to mimic the range of tilt table extremes and estimated the induced CSF pressure change using measurements from the CSF hydrostatic indifferent point. We found a significant relationship between pulsation amplitude change and estimated CSF pressure change (p < 0.0001) across a range from 2.7 to 7.1 mmHg. The increase in pulse amplitude was highest in the sitting posture with greater estimated CSF pressure increase (p < 0.0001), in keeping with physiologically predicted CSF pressure response. This technique may be useful for non-invasive measurement of CSF pressure fluctuations during long-term space voyages.
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